Owning a sports team is an incredibly difficult process. Not only does someone need to have massive amounts of wealth for the purchase, they also need to be in the right situation at the right time. However, there are exceptions to those rules every now and then.
Michael Jordan is one such example. The superstar is a current owner of Charlotte Hornets (formerly Bobcats), and one of the few players to even have a shot at that position. This guide will look at how that happened, as well as how the team has fared since the G.O.A.T took over.
The Trials of Ownership
Typically, players don’t own basketball teams. While some players can have certain influence or get some stake in a franchise, moving all the way up the ladder almost never happens. It’s an extremely tight-knit club, and even the richest players can’t afford to make the purchase.
There are some exceptions. Dwayne Wade has ownership shares with the Utah Jazz, Shaq owns part of the Kings, and Grant Hill bought stakes with the Hawks. Even so, those are small positions or part of a bigger group. Jordan went about his ownership in a vastly different way.
Getting Into The Game
After his sixth title and second retirement, it seemed that Jordan had an eye on management. That’s a move many players make, but Jordan went about it in a different way. Rather than being a coach, he aimed at a more powerful role.
He came back to the NBA during the 2001 season when he joined the Washington Wizards. However, he only agreed to be a part of the franchise on the stipulation that they made him the Director of Basketball Operations. They agreed and got him for two seasons.
Unfortunately for Jordan, his front office moves didn’t pan out. He had plenty of influence, but it didn’t get the Wizards into the playoffs either year he was there. It also led to animosity with the franchise and caused him to get fired during his third (and final) retirement.
A Big Move
Spurned by the league and disenfranchised with basketball, Jordan took a few years off. He did his own thing for three years, but eventually came back to the NBA in 2006 when he made a stunning move by buying a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets).
The move made him the team’s second-largest shareholder (behind majority owner Robert L. Johnson) and it gave him full control over the organization’s basketball side. That gave him a ton of power, much more than most minority owners ever see.
Spurred by that success, he went on to get full control of the team in March 2010 after a few months of deliberation. He reached a deal with the organization and purchased it through his group MJ Basketball Holdings.
That move had major implications for two reasons. Not only did it make Jordan the first (and only) player to get a majority stake of a team, but it also made him the only African-American owner in the entire NBA.
The Longest Road
Owning the Hornets was a big deal for Jordan, but it didn’t necessarily mean great things for the team. As amazing as he was on the court, the superstar never quite gelled in front office life. He struggled in Orlando, and he certainly struggled in Charlotte.
Under his control, the franchise has seen limited success. Since his big move in 2010, they have only made the playoffs twice (as a sixth and seventh seed) and both of those years they lost in the first round.
On top of that, the 2011-2012 Bobcats had the worst record in NBA history. They ended the year on a twenty three game losing streak and finished a paltry 7-59. A huge fall from the great teams Jordan played for during his years in Chicago.
It’s not easy to own an NBA team, and it’s even harder to run one. Jordan’s stake in the Hornets is a true anomaly. While it’s been good from a business venture standpoint, it has not translated into wins. That’s a big struggle, and something Jordan hopes he can turn around soon.
While there are a few players-turned-owners in the NBA, none of them did it like Jordan. His plan wasn’t just to have a stake in a team, he wanted the whole pie. It took some time, and some clever business moves, but he eventually got his wish.
He still has a way to go in terms of wins, but the current roster is one of the best the franchise has had in years. On top of that, Jordan is one of the most famous players to ever step onto the court. Owning a franchise isn’t only a landmark for him, it just makes sense.